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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

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What's New In W. Africa (Nigeria)

Old 29th Jul 2007, 22:17
  #1921 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: wherever
Posts: 14
cdn taxes

Thanks Oryxs. Sweet deal, although it sounds like the tax break is well earned if you're slugging it out in Nigeria with CHC.
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Old 1st Aug 2007, 13:00
  #1922 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Schell City, MO
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Lightbulb Bayelsa State

From reading the past 5 pages of posts I believe the expats are quite constrained in their abilities to move about in their daily lives compared to before.

Would it be fair to say that expats who live on sealed compounds are better protected form possible harm?

Does anyone feel there is an end in sight?

Thanks
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Old 1st Aug 2007, 17:32
  #1923 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Jankara
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bh214st,

There is now almost no movement in Warri, Port Harcourt or Eket outside of 'secure'compounds except to get to and from work in armed escorted convoys.

Sealed compounds don't seem to offer any better protection and there have been numerous instances this year of militants getting into compounds either by subterfuge or brute force (dynamite being the current 'force' of choice ) and kidnapping expatriates from them.
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Old 2nd Aug 2007, 18:20
  #1924 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Now if one puts all yer eggs in a single basket......either you simplify their safeguarding or make it easier for the Oppo's to score big.

The essential issue is the quality of those protecting the assets.

Are they equipped, organized, capable and prepared to confront hostile armed and dedicated groups willing to assault the compound?

My money is on the Oppo's in this one unfortunately.
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Old 2nd Aug 2007, 22:48
  #1925 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Here and there...
Age: 54
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SASless,

Sadly I must agree with you on that score. I remember the MOPOLS being big on show and bluster and p15s poor on performance when I was there and things were not nearly as bad as now.
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Old 4th Aug 2007, 21:06
  #1926 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Lost and Legless somewhere in LaLaLand
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SAS,

In the case of most MOPOL or army guards or escorts in incidents involving expatriates, I believe that the vast majority of the time they have shown themselves to be poorly equipped (sometimes the MOPOL have only teargas guns), poorly organized, quite capable but totally unprepared to confront hostile armed and dedicated groups willing to assault the compound. They are there for window dressing to deter casual, opportunist, small-scale robbers and to satisfy the insurers of major companies that those companies are fulfilling their duty of care for the security of their employees (thus making sure that life insurances etc., remain valid) .

All eggs, single baskets, CHC, death camp - need I say more?
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Old 10th Aug 2007, 19:29
  #1927 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Thumbs down Lawlessness Increases In Port Harcourt As Brit Is Kidnapped

Port Harcourt is riven by civil strife at present, with the army having been deployed to its streets after the usual lawlessness escalated with bloody shootouts between rival cults led to the death of at least 15 people. Exttra troops were sent to Government House and to guard Shell. Several companies have now changed their escorts from MOPOL to army in the belief that this will give greater security to their employees. That doesn't seem to have helped much though as 1 Briton, working for Hydrodive, was kidnapped from his vehicle. Although the number of politically-motivated kidnaps has decreased since president Umaru Yar'Adua came to power in May, the crime wave and gang warfare, particularly in Rivers State, has spiralled upwards almost out of control. There have been reports that the major oil companies may pull almost all expatriate staff out of Port Harcourt if the situation is not brought under control. I wonder how this will affect operations for CHC and Bristow in the next few months and whether their expatriate employees consider that the recent pay increases of 5% or less are adequate compensation for continuing to work in one of the more dangerous areas of Africa.
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Old 10th Aug 2007, 19:38
  #1928 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Lagos
Posts: 245
Exclamation

The British Deputy High Commission has also modified its travel advice and temporarily closed down its liaison office in Port Harcourt:

We advise against all travel to the Niger Delta (Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States, including Port Harcourt) and to riverine areas of Cross River State. This is because of the very high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas. In 17 separate incidents since January 2006, 33 British nationals (including one child) and over 180 foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta area and one Briton has been killed. On 8 July 2007 a British national was one of two foreign nationals abducted from a vessel in a riverine location in Cross River State. See the Terrorism/Security section of this travel advice for more details.


We advise that the security situation in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States makes them unsafe for British nationals. We therefore advise British nationals to leave. If you stay, you do so at your own risk and should take professional security advice. The level of consular assistance we can provide is limited.


Since 7 August 2007 there has been a surge in gang related violence in Port Harcourt, with incidents across the city. Given the level and nature of violence, the High Commission Liaison Office in Port Harcourt (including British Council) and VFS Office has been closed. We will review this decision on 12 August 2007.

We advise against all but essential travel to Akwa Ibom State because of the high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, observe the strictest security measures and not travel unnecessarily. If travelling by road you should use fully protected transport. Six Russian nationals were abducted from a compound in Akwa Ibom State on 3 June 2007.


The high risk of kidnappings and other armed attacks in the Niger Delta applies also to ships and oil rigs at sea off the coast of the Delta. In 2007 there has been an increase in attacks offshore.
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Old 10th Aug 2007, 20:13
  #1929 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Okrika
Posts: 83
Unhappy Mike Hill Dies

For those of you in Port Harcourt who may not have heard, Mike Hill died on Wednesday. Mike was in the world news recently when his baby daughter was kidnapped. He was actually due to travel to UK for urgent medical treatment, but postponed his trip until his daughter was released.

Although not an aviator, he and his wife, Tina, were known to many expatriates in Port Harcourt who, during happier times, visited Goodfellows, a popular karaoke bar, of which he was a part-owner.

Sad news and condolences to his family.
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Old 10th Aug 2007, 22:17
  #1930 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
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COndolences to all the families.

Another life lost to the stupidity tearing that country to pieces, albeit indirectly.
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Old 11th Aug 2007, 17:32
  #1931 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Canada
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CDN Overseas Tax Credit

Oryxs said:

[Noticed comments referring to the tax advantages that apply to Canadians working for a Canadian Company overseas (i.e. CHC). I heard rumours that the tax rate is 5% of earnings under said circumstances. Is this correct?]

Smickey
You only pay tax on $20 000 of the first $100 000 so you"ll get back about 70% of your taxes at the end of the year. Hope it helps.
This is not quite true. It is more interpretated as there is a credit applied to the first $100K. Canadians would be expected to only pay ~20% tax on this $100K, if certain conditions apply. Essentially, you pay only 20% tax on the first $100K, income greater than the $100K is taxed at the rate above $100K. You must have more than 6 consecutive months of empoyment out of country. CHC will give their employees letters to attest to the employment out of Canada. An employee should not legally work in Canada in between rotations, or this would invalidate the 6 month period in any given tax year. More can be read here. Hope this helps.
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Old 12th Aug 2007, 12:29
  #1932 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Jankara
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The Wild Wild West

The present gang warfare in Port Harcourt must make Bristow be glad that they moved away from 'Dodgy Woji' as many of the gunmen 2 days ago routed via Slaughter (appropriately named) via Woji to Trans Amadi. It still makes their drive home a bit nerve wracking at present. With so many oil majors now being on lockdown and restricted to air travel only it makes one wonder why Bristow management isn't using helicopters to position their crews. CHC are not immune either, as a lot of the shooting has been happening around D Line, just down the road.

Further afield in the city gangs made a second attack on the NNPC mega-station ( the largest filling station in the city) and destroyed 9 fuel pumps with dynamite. Official figures put the body count at 15 at present, but in reality everyone knows it's considerably higher. Many of the gang members are dressed in MOPOL uniforms and ebgaging in firefights with the army. It's often difficult to tell who's who out here as MOPOL frequently just dress in fatigue trousers, T-shirts and flip flops. Many of the gunmen of the last few days were seen carrying AK 47s, dynamite and pump-action shotguns. Most of them were in dark glasses many were smoking (probably wacky baccy). A number of soldiers were also arrested in Port Harcourt a few months ago on suspicion of being involved in kidnappings. All too often, those supposedly here to protect us are also criminals and terrorists and it's difficult to know who to trust and whether you can have faith in anything but good luck .

The Inspector General of Police, Mike Okiro and the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Andrew Owoye Azazi were in Port Harcourt yesterday but deniied that the situation had deteriorated to the point where a state of emergency needs to be declared - yeah right:

The state government said the situation was under control and that there was no reason for people to panic, because the situation was not beyond what it could handle. As calls for emergency rule to be declared in the state following the seeming inability of the state government to curtail the situation heightened, Okiro, who was in Port Harcourt yesterday in company of the chief of the defense staff, General Andrew Owoye Azazi, for a top security meeting on how to curtail the killings, said the situation had not degenerated to a level where emergency rule should be enforced.

He said the Joint Task Force, made of the police, army, navy, had been strengthened to address the situation. 'Lawlessness will no longer be allowed in Port Harcourt. I don't agree that an emergency rule be declared. It is an internal cult war. And the JTF is confronting them. The Federal Government is taking action", the inspector-general of police stated.

Meanwhile, the State Security Service, SSS, in the state, yesterday, shut down a private radio station for some hours for airing a programme 'View Point" where some guests called for emergency rule to be declared in the state. Also arrested was the news editor of the station, Mr. Segun Owolabi, after SSS operatives stormed the station and stopped transmission. At press time, Owolabi had not been released while the station was back on air.

The Action Congress, AC, in Rivers State condemned the SSS action, describing it as "a misapplication of force"
Despite having resident security advisers, most Bristow staff in Port Harcourt have yet to receive a security briefing on the current situation or be advised as to why it's still a good idea to be driving to work when the army is unable to control the situation. Bristow seem to be good at keeping quiet about most things from pay to security, whilst CHC still live in a world of their own and believe everything they hear - but at least they seem to be committed to staying.
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Old 16th Aug 2007, 13:07
  #1933 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Okrika
Posts: 83
Devil Port Harcourt Joy

Port Harcourt has been a delight today, with the NAF Base being closed to civil movements shortly after one fixed wing flight departed. Mil 35 gunships can still be seen from here, shooting at ground targets in the city. There has been heavy firing outside the Government House and the Police Headquarters in the city, but the army claims to have broken the back of the attacks. This remains to be seen, as the two main gang leaders, Soboma George and Tom Ateke are still at large.

There were reports that George had been killed in a raid on a Port Harcourt hotel this morning, but he managed to esacpe as a number of his men were killed. Both George and Ateke were at one time part of the same group being hired and armed by local politicians to intimidate their opponents and rig elections. They fell out some time ago and the present warfare between them is for control of the lucrative oil bunkering and drugs trade in the delta.

With all this going on, CHC and Bristow wonder why they have a job recruiting pilots to come and work over here . I'm sure the few percent rise which both companies awarded this year is going to go a long way towards addressing the shortage .
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Old 16th Aug 2007, 20:45
  #1934 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Lagos
Posts: 245
British High Commission Update PHC

In view of the deteriorating situation in Port Harcourt, the British High Commission has updated its security advice for British nationals:
This advice has been reviewed and reissued with amendments to the Summary and Terrorism/Security section (gang related violence in Port Harcourt). The overall level of the advice has not changed.
We advise against all travel to the Niger Delta (Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States, including Port Harcourt) and to riverine areas of Cross River State. This is because of the very high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks in these areas. In 17 separate incidents since January 2006, 34 British nationals (including one child) and over 180 foreign nationals have been kidnapped in the Niger Delta area and one Briton has been killed. On 10 August a British national was abducted from his car when driving to work in Port Harcourt. See the Terrorism/Security section of this travel advice for more details.
We advise that the security situation in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States makes them unsafe for British nationals. We therefore advise British nationals to leave. If you stay, you do so at your own risk and should take professional security advice. The level of consular assistance we can provide is limited.
There was a further round of gang related violence in Port Harcourt on 16 August, with incidents across the city. Given the level and nature of violence, the High Commission Liaison Office in Port Harcourt (including British Council) and VFS Office has been closed. We will review this decision on 19 August 2007.

We advise against all but essential travel to Akwa Ibom State because of the high risk of kidnapping, armed robbery and other armed attacks. You should maintain a high level of vigilance at all times, observe the strictest security measures and not travel unnecessarily. If travelling by road you should use fully protected transport.
The high risk of kidnappings and other armed attacks in the Niger Delta applies also to ships and oil rigs at sea off the coast of the Delta. In 2007 there has been an increase in attacks offshore.
There is also a risk of kidnapping in other States in south-east Nigeria. On 17 March 2007, two Chinese nationals were abducted at Nnewi, Anambra State. See the Terrorism/Security section of this travel advice for more details.
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 00:00
  #1935 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Lagos
Posts: 245
Thumbs down

I hear that the curfew in Port Harcourt is affecting operations, with most helicopter flights now having to be on ground by 1600 so that personnel can get home and then their drivers can still be home before curfew starts. But Soboma George is not dead, the root cause of the problems in Port Harcourt is still there (crooked politicians and a war for control of the oil bunkering and drugs trades) and unless something far more radical is done to dig out the root of the problem it will return. A number of militant groups have already stated that they will resume attacks on oil installations and the kidnapping of expatriates.

Bristow have just fired one pilot (went bush) and have another aircraft grounded today, so when will they learn that it's actually cheaper to pay for quality not quantity? As the old saying goes, ''If you think flight safety is expensive, just see how expensive having an accident is". If you want to work for Bristow on 8/4, not 6/6 they have a really good deal (for them). You work 33% more, but get paid 20% more - so who are the suckers still working 8/4?

CHC is no better. They have so many new guys they barely know how to make a radio call, but are still cleared P1. Guess despite their 'best practices' policy, they still have a long, long way to go before they can aspire to Schreiner standards . They actually make the Bristow guys look quite professional. However, at least they are paying a much better CLA than Bristow for staff in Port Harcourt now and their salary is such that it's doubtful Bristow will be able to poach any more, except those who just can't stand the CHC 'know best' attitude any more. I guess that as none of Bristow management has yet to actually oet out and spend a night away from the comforts of Lagos, so have no clue what life is like in the delta, they're toatlly unaware of any of this - especially as I'm sure they all claim never to read Prune!

With so much lack of experience one wonders how either company will possibly be able to professionally and safely crew the new AW139, S92 and EC225 helicopters on the way? Maybe once they start paying North Sea salaries and stop spouting all their tired old gobbledygook about what a good deal Nigeria is because the salary is 'tax free' they'll have enough world-class pilots coming along to fly their world-class, state-of-the-art helicopters. However, I confidently expect that Redhill, Richmond, L4 and PeeWee will continue spouting their garbage about how they have feet-high piles of applications on their desks and they can cope no matter what. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yawn, yawn, yawn. Is it going to take yet another unexplained crash or another 20 pilots leaving before someone in Richmond or Houston realises that Nigeria is a huge opportunity for the future - or a disaster waiting to happen as everything implodes?

For those poor suckers still working in Delta, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States all I can say is, keep your heads down and good luck, because your employers are relying on all of the above to keep going . There are other jobs available now, but too many of the 'old hands' are used to putting up with second best for nothing. Open your eyes guys, CHC and Bristow need you far more than you need them.
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 05:41
  #1936 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Norway
Posts: 61
The neverending story?

This thread have given me a feeling of insight into the Nigerian helicopter operations which I would have been hard pressed to obtain through other sources.

In some ways Nigeria seems to be an exotic and interesting country in which to be stationed. The challenges relating to political instability, security, safety, creature comfort and a seeming lack of TLC from the respective corporate management structures in the end makes Nigeria a bad deal all round.

A tax free income sounds great in some ways, but;
* the gross income earnings potential is 40-60% of the North Sea/Norway?
* insurance and pension coverage is 20-40% of the North Sea/Norway?
* commuting schedules are based on no extended minimum rest following long and uncomfortable travel with no proper rest facilities available enroute, i.e. cattle class.

You are left with nothing but feeling attached to Nigeria based on for example having found love and family in the country, or a spirit of adventure, or jungle fever....or lack of choice for whatever reason.

Quite a few pilots working for Bristow and the CHC owned companies in Europe might have been interested to visit and work in Nigeria if terms and conditions were right. Perhaps even an exchange program could have been established, whereby pilots would work part of the time in Nigeria and part of the time in the North Sea?

We will probably neve know, since no lines of communications are available to research the potential for such an insane concept. Oh well, its always possible to dream.

Stay safe.

Regards, Olav
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 09:07
  #1937 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Age: 72
Posts: 1,561
Ah, well....

I guess you guys are just going to have to manage without me!
That Bristow Lagos contract that was 'in the mail' never did show up. Now it seems that the fellah I was speaking with must have mis-spoke, so that it has all turned out to be just a beautiful dream, making double the money for just a slightly increased risk of having my po-po shot off. From what I am reading here, that might be just as well.

Algeria is locked down tight, with strict controls on weapons, plus I am based way out in the middle of nowhere so that the bad guys will have quite a hike before they can get to me. Still, sh*t does happen, so that I was ready to try my luck again with Nigeria despite the bad news.

You should see some of the critters that live here in the desert, particularly the so-called camel spiders. I had a pair take up residence in a chock. When I pulled the chocks on my pre-flight there they were, doing some sort of eight-legged Bruce Lee number. Their bite causes your flesh to rot, sort of like an aviation manager's.

Due to the long distances involved this is a largely helicopter-free environment. There is one 206L here at Hassi Messaoud that does pipeline inspection, I guess, and a couple of ground attack Mil-14s (It looks like a Mil-8 with stub wings. I think I got the type right but I am not actually an anorak.) at El Golea that just sit out there on the ramp but that's about it.

Sorry that I won't be back any time soon, if ever, for the craic at the BRC Bar but that is life. Keep your heads down!
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 16:23
  #1938 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: T.B.A.
Posts: 94
Thumbs up Ground Frequency For Naf

Anybody gone down on their knees yet and thanked who ever was responsible for the inclusion of a ground frequency (125,50Mhz) at the NAF Base in Port Harcourt.
With no more transmissions required on PH Intl frequency and two frequencies at the NAF Base (Ground Control and Tower), flying in the PH zone has miraciously become an experience conducive to flight safety and enjoyment of flight.
One can now even tolerate the Caverton and CHC newbies...
Now if someone can just fix NAF Towers radio...

Last edited by Recuperator; 25th Aug 2007 at 05:27.
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Old 24th Aug 2007, 21:01
  #1939 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Here and there...
Age: 54
Posts: 854
Tell me, Recuperator

With your apparently long service in PH were you ever a newbie or do conveniently forget that time of uncertainty now that you are an old hand?

I'm not trying to pick a fight, mind you, I'm simply curious about your apparent lack of understanding for something that MUST have happened to you in your first few rotations in, what with the Harmattan and the sky being almost the same colour as the sea at times............or possibly going into the swamp to evacuate yet another installation that had gotten overrun and wondering WTF you were doing there.

Like I said, simply curious and puzzled.

UL
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Old 8th Sep 2007, 06:31
  #1940 (permalink)  

Nigerian In Law
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Haven't been there, never done that.
Age: 61
Posts: 1,001
What ?? Can't Hear You...........

To paraphrase the football chant, "It's all gone quiet over there". Is everything in the West African garden nice and rosey these days ? Nothing to report from anyone ? That would be a first.

Cheers,

NEO
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